Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government continues to “engage deeply with leaders and communities” when he was asked whether he would visit an Indigenous protest on the Saskatchewan legislature grounds.
Trudeau made a brief visit to Regina on Sunday, where he chatted with families of steelworkers during a Canada Day event.
The Justice for Our Stolen Children camp was set up in February to protest racial injustice and the disproportionate number of First Nations children apprehended by child-welfare workers.
Trudeau noted that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who is the MP for Regina-Wascana, has visited the camp but that he himself was not planning to visit on Sunday.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has backed calls for police to remove teepees that protesters have set up on the legislature grounds, which forced changes to Canada Day plans.
Trudeau said he understands there are a significant number of provincial issues the protesters are concerned about, but that reconciliation requires all levels of government to step up and work together.
“We look forward to working with all levels of government and with Indigenous Peoples on this,” Trudeau said.
The camp was dismantled last month when the government ordered it taken down and police arrested Indigenous protesters, but it was set up again June 21 with more teepees.
The Provincial Capital Commission said on Wednesday that it had to make alterations to its Canada Day festivities because the space where the camp is situated normally has a concert stage and beer gardens.
Regina police have said there’s no need for them to step in at this point, because a meeting is scheduled for Monday between the protesters and five government ministers in the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.
Moe said last week that it’s the government’s expectation that the teepees will be removed either before or after the meeting.